Ryoyu Kobayashi is having the ski jumping season of his life - but he knows his achievements so far will pale into relative insignificance in his homeland of Japan if he does not land Olympic gold.
The 25-year-old goes into Beijing 2022 as one of the favourites for a medal - but his path to gold could be blocked by Germany’s World Cup leader Karl Geiger or triple Olympic champion Kamil Stoch - though doubts remain about the Pole’s fitness.
It has been a stunning campaign so far for Kobayashi, who fell just short of completing a second clean sweep in the Four Hills competition (having achieved that in 2018-19), but a fifth placed finish in Bischofshofen was not enough to stop him winning the overall title - his third in the space of four years.
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He is effectively neck and neck with Geiger at the top of the World Cup standings, sitting just three points behind the German, and goes into the Games as the man in form having topped the podium at one of the events in Willingen. As Eurosport's Pete Sharland explains when tipping who will shine in Beijing, Kobayashi is the "ultimate definition of poetry in motion in his sport."

‘Ryoyu gets his hands on the Golden Eagle’ - Kobayashi wins Four Hills

All of this is incredibly impressive - but Kobayashi knows other sports rival his in Japan for attention. Perhaps serving as a prime example of home advantage, there has never been a Japanese ski jump gold medallist outside of hosting the Games in their own country. In the two Olympics Japan has hosted - Sapporo 1972 and Nagano 1998 - six individual medallists were crowned.
Away from home, there have been just three individual Japanese medallists - Hirokazu Yagi at Lake Placid 1980, Noriaki Kasai at Sochi 2014 and bronze for Sara Takanashi at PyeongChang 2018 - the first Japanese woman to win an Olympic ski jumping medal.
Athletes vary in the way they view competition. British slalom skier Dave Ryding, for example, does not look at the Olympics as the be-all and end-all - his World Cup victory in Kitzbuhel recently will take some beating for a career highlight, and he does not build specifically for the Games.
Others are purely focused on the quadrennial behemoth - take Team GB’s skeleton sliders, for example. Kobayashi is proud of his achievements, but he knows that only Olympic success will be widely celebrated in Japan - and that could have a big impact on both his legacy, and the popularity of the sport.
“The reality is nobody pays attention to you if you don’t win at the Olympics,” he told Sportiva recently. “My first Olympics that I can remember is Vancouver 2010 where Simon Ammann dominated. I didn’t even know about the World Cup back then and I’m sure there are kids out there who are like that.
"Even the kids into ski jumping, they know the Olympics is a massive event but they don’t remember what happened.
If a Japanese wins a medal, that will surely change. The future of ski jumping in Japan hangs on a medal which is why I want to win one - and I’m in a position where I can.
"It feels great to win at the World Cup but it must be even better to medal at the Games. I want to produce an incredible performance, an incredible jump and have a blast doing it."
Kobayashi says lack of experience cost him at PyeongChang, when he made his Olympic debut. Four years ago, Stoch took the blue riband large hill title, but a freak ankle injury suffered last month - while playing foot-tennis - means there are doubts around his fitness status. News on his recovery has been relatively quiet.
But if Kobayashi can produce the form he has more often than not this season, Stoch’s fitness should not matter. Gold is there for him to claim and if he does achieve that ambition, ski jumping could rocket in Japan.
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